After a successful pilot program in fall 2015, the Ashcroft Terminal is looking forward to starting up its regular Intermodal business later this year.
“The rail and transport lines were ecstatic, and the customers were thrilled,” says Kleo Landucci, Vice President Projects and Development, of the process that sees fully loaded and sealed rail car containers brought in and out by train, and then off-loaded from, or loaded onto, trucks. She’s not worried about the proposed rail terminal in Kamloops, announced early this year by Cando Rail Services.
“Competition is healthy. There’s no shortage of business to go around, and the more business we can take out of the Lower Mainland the better.”
While waiting for the Intermodal side of the terminal to be fully up and running, Landucci says they have found other ways to service the rail industry. Their bulk business services the natural resources sector, and fleet management has become an increasingly large piece of what goes on at the terminal, which occupies 320 acres of land northeast of Ashcroft.
They are able to do light rail car repairs to the skins of open cars, and Landucci says they’re looking to enhance that with a repair shop that would allow them to carry out more in-depth repairs. She would also like to see rail car cleaning added to the site. “There’s a huge demand for that service.”
There is also storage of rail cars on the site, and Landucci acknowledges that some of the cars contain hazardous material. However, she notes that the terminal is 1.6km from the nearest residence, and that the storage of rail cars is regulated by Transport Canada, which does spot checks.
However, the success and activity at the terminal makes it an increasingly dangerous place for the people who continue to trespass on the site, regardless of signs noting that it is private property, and warning of the dangers of crossing the rail lines that run through the site.
“It’s been a challenge since the site was under contract in 1999,” says Landucci, “and has become a daily issue. For many years the public hasn’t viewed the land as private, and while I get and respect that people feel the slough is theirs, we really have to communicate that crossing rail lines is very serious, and that to cross those lines people have to cross private property.”
Six signs warning of the extreme danger posed by the tracks, and the fact that the land is private, were erected around the property, but Landucci says that they can only find three; the others have disappeared. Barriers meant to keep people from accessing the CN line have been moved, there are numerous examples of recent bonfires on the site, and at least one warning sign has been knocked over.
Landucci says that Gold Country Communities Society has removed a geocache they had placed on the site, and put up a sign noting that the cache is no longer operative, which has helped, but stresses the danger to those who continue to trespass across the railways. “Every single train that goes to or from the Lower Mainland goes along these lines. They aren’t spur or branch lines; they’re the main rail lines, carrying 60 trains a day through the area.”
Last year a Sudbury, ON man was fined $125 for walking too close to the CN rail line near his home. Derek Desormeaux was told by two members of the CN Police that he was trespassing on CN property. An official with CN Rail said that walking near tracks is not only dangerous, but illegal.